Friday, January 29, 2010

Fancy Food Show Winter 2010 – Our Favorites (Part I)


DSC04323 Fever-Tree beverages

Out of the hundreds of samples we tasted, these are some of the favorite foods my friends and I found at the 35th Winter Fancy Food Show.

Cold Beverage
Let’s start with cocktails. Some of you may remember when I wrote about Sence Rose Nectar in its gorgeous bottle last year.

This year, mixologist Sean Bigley combined the Sence European Rose Nectar with Hendricks Gin to create a delicious, refreshing, aromatic cocktail. Hendricks Gin is especially well-suited to be paired with Sence because it infuses Bulgarian rose petals during the distillation process. With the elegant bottles and the clear pink color, this would be a beautiful cocktail to serve for a wedding or bridal shower and it would be great prior to a Moroccan or Turkish meal.

DSC04336 Sence - Sean Bigley mixologist

Fever-Tree offers a premium line of mixers. My favorite was the Ginger Ale, made with three kinds of ginger.

DSC04325 Fever Tree beverages

I would like a gin and tonic made with Fever-Tree tonic water and topped with the super-fancy cocktail garnish, the Tipsy Cocktail Stirrer, by Sable & Rosenfeld.


Appetizers

As I’m sipping my gin cocktail, it would sure be nice to have an amuse bouche served in one of these fancy cones. I’m so glad Linda pointed them out to me.

DSC04347 Hafner cones display

DSC04298 elegant cones


Hafner offers an impressive array of baked pastry shells to meet any savory or sweet need. The cones I tasted were delicious, delicately crunchy, and their neutral flavor yields to the flavors of the contents.

Tracy and I both thought the Crisp Made Entirely of Cheese was downright addictive. Amazingly, this  super-crispy, intensely-flavored cracker qualifies as a Diet and Lifestyle Product, winning gold in the category.

crispy cheese

I thought the fava bean hummus by Fava was absolutely delicious:

fava bean hummus

Dairy
My favorite cheese of the day was the goat cheese by the Rogers Collection. Its creamy texture melted in the mouth like a dream and the rich flavor was heavenly. Stephanie remarked: “I don’t like goat cheese much but I like this.”

The Rogers Collection

John Cancilla, of Rogers Collection, immediately replied, “I love goat cheese and this is my favorite”. Mine too.

Cypress Grove Chevre, of Brie Wedding Cake fame, won the gold Sofi for another goat cheese, Truffle Tremor. I'm sure it was great, I love their Humbodt Fog, but my mushroom allergy prevents me from tasting it.

DSC04329 Cypress Grove truffle tremor Sofi

Marin-County-based Cowgirl Creamery is reliably delicious, their signature cheese, Mt. Tam is my favorite.

DSC04333 Cowgirl Creamery booth

My palate is getting fatigued, I will take a break and continue with our favorites next time.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Fancy Food Show Winter 2010 – Flavor Trends


DSC04374 Wild Tea Seed Oil

I told you about some of this year’s trends in food preparation and packaging here, but now I will tell you about the flavor trends my foodie friends and I observed when we attended the 2010 Winter Fancy Food Show.

Exotic Citrus
Exotic citrus fruits were well-represented throughout the show. We, and everyone else who hovered around the booth like bees in a beehive, all loved the 100% fresh squeezed blood orange juice by Aliseo Foods. No big surprise that this won the gold Sofi Award for best cold beverage.

The grapefruit gelato by PreGel America was our hands-down favorite frozen dessert of the day.

Pink Grapefruit gelato

Stephanie loved all the products she tasted in the Yakami Orchard booth but she was especially partial to the marmalade featuring the Japanese citrus fruit yuzu.

Yakami Orchard

Bacon
Last year I wrote about meeting the Baconnaise boys, this year bacon is popping up in more
places. Linda found bacon-flavored chapstick, bacon popcorn, and even bacon-flavored glue on the flaps of envelopes. Another unusual, and surprisingly delicious, bacon offering was the bacon peanut brittle by Sir Francis Bacon.


Peanuts, butter, sugar, salt, and now bacon. Why not deep-fry it and make it a forbidden-food homerun? On the other hand, peanuts are protein, butter gives us calcium, this has zero trans fats and all ingredients are natural. If I have it with a glass of red wine to protect my heart, I might call it a health food.

Coconut
A very welcome trend I observed was the increased use of coconut across many products. My favorites were the toasted coconut salt and the coconut curry ice cream (though I still keep hoping that I’ll have another scoop of the coconut lemongrass gelato that Ciao Bella served at the San Francisco Ferry Building one day). I failed to make a note of the booth number for the gold Sofi winner for Outstanding New Product Danielle Fruit Chips so I missed the chance to taste their Roasted Coconut Chips.


Just from the description of it, this sounds like something I would like to sprinkle over coconut gelato or just eat by the handful.

Tea
Now that tea has been proven to be powerful antioxidant, it is showing up in more and more products every year. It seems that every self-respecting chocolatier must have a green-tea chocolate. In fact, The Tea Room won a silver Sofi Award for their Green Earl Grey Dark Chocolate Bar.

The most unique tea product I found was tea seed oil made by Arette, think flax seed oil but made with tea seeds. This oil is expressed from the cousin of the tea plant (Camillia Oleifera instead of Camellia Sinensis). Not only do these oils taste delicious, they are loaded with enough monounsaturated oils, unsaturated fatty acids, poly phenols, and vitamin E to make me live to a hundred. But wait, there’s more. It is very desirable for cooking because it has a high smoke point ( 485˚ F).

DSC04376 China Mist teas

Bottled tea drinks are not new but new flavor combinations continue to pop up. China Mist creates a beautiful and delicious line of organic teas with flavors like Tangerine Black Tea with Pomegranate Juice, Blackberry Jasmine Green Tea with Lemonade, or Dragon Fruit Black Tea. They are offered in a glass hourglass-shaped bottle that is attractive and comfortable to hold.

Next time, our favorites!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Macro Monday – Olives

Olives

“The olive tree is like an old friend. It knows all my life and gives me wise counsel.”
-- Paul C├ęzanne

Last post I promised to discuss flavor trends from the Winter Fancy Food Show but since it’s Monday, I thought I would first post a couple of macro photo of olives.

Food Match

These green Lucque olives hail from the Languedoc region of France. Their almond shape is attractive and they are delicious with a firm, almost crunchy, texture and tangy flavor.

They were beautifully presented by FoodMatch who produces tasty olives from Greece, France, Spain, and Morocco.


olives


DSC04359 FoodMatch olive display


DeLallo

DeLallo always has impressive displays at the show...

DSC04307 DeLallo Bella Di Cerignola

 ...but this year they outdid themselves with their dazzling booth…

DSC04309 De Lallo booth

…or I should say booths…

DSC04306 DeLallo olive booth

…or I should say neighborhood.

DSC04310 DeLallo booth

Their expansive offerings of olives, pickles, and peppers astonish me. I don’t believe I’ve ever seen banana peppers before.

DSC04311 Delallo peppers and olives

My daughter absolutely adores DeLallo jalapeno peppers. She and her roommate used to order them from the internet; they hope that they will be carried in all grocery stores soon.

Partanna

DSC04308 Partanna Olives

This is the first time I’ve tasted Partanna olives. I highly recommend them; especially the green ones in the middle.

To see more Macro Monday photos, visit Lisa here.
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